Ash trees in the northeast and Midwest are under assault from an invasive species.
"The emerald ash borer is a non-native weevil from Asiatic countries that has come in to the U.S. and is boring into the outer bark of the ash trees. It’s causing the decline of the species. It’s likely that the ash (tree) becomes extinct as a result," said Clara Holmes, Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank.
While efforts continue to slow the spread of the borer and researchers try to find an effective agent against it, ash tree seed collections are being organized to keep the ash tree in our future.
"The goal of saving seeds is to preserve the genetic diversity and the effort would be to provide that genetic diversity to researchers and breeders who might be able to develop a resistant form of the ash tree," said Holmes.
Or, it would be a long-term solution if the borer is eliminated from the U.S. we would be able to put genetically diverse locally adapted seed of the ash species back into New York state.
People interested in helping are needed to scout for candidate trees in the summer and then seed collection in the fall.
"In the fall is when the seed is ripe and if they would interested in going a step further and making a collection there’s not of technical material needed for a collection so it’s something easy that homeowners can get involved with," said Holmes.
The project is being organized through the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank.